The launches of Nintendo’s 3DS, and Sony’s PS Vita, being as they were, bad, it would seem that mobile gaming is on a decline. But in fact mobile gaming might as well be the future of gaming as a whole.
With in the past couple years, casual gaming has moved towards phone and tablet games. Some of the biggest games in recent years, have been mobile games. Between Angry Birds, Doodle Jump, Jetpack Joyride, Temple Run, etc. people from all walks of life are playing games. These people are playing games everyday, and for hours, but still don’t assimilate themselves with the “gamer” title.
I have found this odd. Not that these pick up games are so popular. More in the fact that the more these popular these phone games seem to get, the less popular dedicated mobile gaming machines seem to be.
Having the prices of games on phones and tablets so low, enables the developers to reach an audience that traditional games never could. Most games on these platforms are around the 99 cents to $1.99 and even the most popular and successful games be free in the first place, lets anyone get these games no matter their budget.
This is a cause for a race to the bottom for all aspects of gaming. For most people these 1 or 2 dollar games are all they need in the gaming space, while for others, the only real next jump are 60 dollar games. This disparity in prices, and truly mindsets, is what will drive the future of the industry.
Although, it can be argued that these two markets aren’t competing with each other, the real competition is the hardware. The most important piece of technology in people’s lives are their phone. With the looming release of the next generation consoles, some people will have to take into consideration what they need more, a cell phone for everyday and everything use, or a new Xbox or Playstation, just the cherry on top. This is an overall easy decision, just get the phone, it is used every day and all day, and is has the ability to play limited experiance games.
This is the crux of the problem for the hardware, and accompanying software companies. These companies need to figure out how to sway these people, and figure out how to make them “can’t live without” tech, for the release of the next gen consoles . These consoles, are fundamentally different than their mobile counterparts. Phones have games that can kill a few minutes here and there, but consoles offer an experience, one where you sit down, play, and take in all that the game has to offer.
If they don’t make a change to appeal to the casual audience, this will leave the market open to cheaper sit down and play tech to appear. Tech like the OUYA, and Game Stick, which are both crowd funded projects, are the perfect examples of what the consumer is looking for in gaming. They still offer a sit down experience, but with people being spoiled by all these cheap and shallow games, they are searching for something that is equally cheaper, even if it doesn’t offer the same depth as a traditional game.
So the future of gaming, isn’t so much going to be completely mobile, as much as it is being dictated by the trends mobile gaming has implemented. This isn’t a problem caused by gaming, but has been created by the way that people live their lives. Console developers realize what needs to happen, and which direction that they need to move in, now its just the question, is it too late to change?